Intentional Ways to Connect With Clients, Community This Holiday Season

Brokers share how their offices give back to the community and their clients during the holidays.
Stacks of letters and cards wrapped in red ribbon

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The holiday season is upon us and, amid the juggle of gatherings with family and friends, it’s always good to reach out to clients as well. Showing gratitude to your clients during the holidays is a great way to keep connections strong.

Many real estate leaders across the country express their appreciation through cards, gifts and events for their agents, clients, neighbors and communities. They spread joy through their gestures large and small and provide community support where they can.

Here are what some brokers and brokerages are doing to reach out this holiday season.

Create Some Movie Magic

After substantial renovation, the Ashland, Ohio, Theatre recently reopened after a 10-year closure. Wendy Anderson thought it would be a great place to invite her clients and their families for a showing of “Home Alone” this December.

“We love to give back and bring all our family members—our clients—together and see how excited the kids are,” says Anderson, AHWD, PSA, C2EX, broker-owner of NextHome Next Stepp in Ashland.

Anderson says she’s expecting around 300 people to participate. As part of the experience, she’s providing all of the movie essentials, including popcorn, candy and drinks.

“We also have Santa doing a meet-and-greet with photos. The photographer will have custom photos for us with our logo and a Christmas message.”

Each participant will receive a printed photo that day and a digital download that they can share on social media and use as they see fit.

Celebrate a New Beginnings

For more than five years, Jeannie Gant has spread her appreciation through New Year’s cards.

“I hope to stand out with them, because Happy New Year’s cards are not very common. Plus, it is a good segue to share about the highlights of the year,” says Gant, broker-owner of Gant Properties in San Francisco.

She selects her cards through, crafts a message and uploads a few photos that highlight the year. As her database grows with clients and others, she’ll be sending more than 100 cards this year. But she also adds a personal touch by calling all her clients to wish them happy holidays. “It’s is a great time to catch up.”

Gant also gets involved with the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® Foundation’s annual holiday breakfast, A Home for the Holidays. She served as 2022 president of the association and finds that this event helps many people throughout the year. Participants are encouraged to bring unwrapped toys or housewares. These items are distributed through the Welcome Home Project and the 60-plus government and nonprofit agencies it works with to help unhoused citizens find permanent housing. The donations help those who gain housing live comfortably in their new homes.

Give Thanks and Share Pie

The quintessential Thanksgiving pumpkin pie and its “aroma of warm spices representing the essence of the holiday season” are synonymous with gratitude for Nicole Nezat and her agents. For the past seven years, they’ve gifted the traditional treat to a host of clients and community members.

“Delivering over 500 pies each year during the week of Thanksgiving is no small feat, but it is heartwarming that our clients appreciate our thoughtfulness,” says Nezat, CRS, C2EX, broker-owner of Fidelis Realty in Biloxi, Miss. She orders them from a local baker who also gives back to the community.

“Sharing these pies with our clients not only satisfies their taste buds but also warms their hearts, fostering a sense of togetherness and gratitude that represents the spirit of Thanksgiving,” she says.

Support Access to Healthcare for Children

Giving back to local children’s hospitals is something deeply personal for Howard W. “Hoddy” Hanna III. He grew up just a few blocks from the Pittsburgh Children’s Hospital and the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine, where Dr. Jonas Salk developed the first polio vaccine.

“We were one of the first kids to get the vaccine at our nearby elementary school,” says Hanna, GRI.

As chairman of Hanna Holdings Inc., the parent company of Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Hanna encourages his 500 offices across 13 states to use the holiday season for events and fundraisers to raise money for the Howard Hanna Children’s Free Care Fund. The money, which the fund distributes to the network’s 18 hospitals, provides essential medical care and services for children in need. Last year, they raised more than $1.1 million for the fund.

It began in 1988 with a few office pot luck luncheon fundraisers called “Chow Chows.” They wanted to make sure that children were not denied medical care they needed because of their economic situation.

Today, the branches get into the holiday spirit by hosting such events as bingo and bowling nights, chili cookoffs, spaghetti dinners, Buffalo Bill watch parties, and a beer festival. A corporate raffle for a dream vacation to Italy or Hawaii is also available for $100 a ticket.

“This company started in 1957, and my mother always taught us that you give back your time, treasure and talent. That has been built into the culture of our company,” he says.

Give Back to Local Schools

Watching teenagers excel and gain confidence on stage gives Alexa Oestreicher a holiday spirit boost. Each December, she sponsors a high school theater production in Yarmouth, Maine.

“It’s really special. As a real estate practitioner, I love helping to build communities,” says Oestreicher, senior vice president of Legacy Properties Sotheby’s International Realty in Portland, Maine. “I like to invite people to it and encourage them to buy tickets. It helps encourage growth in the community.”

For a recent performance, the theater department wanted to add a special orchestra pit performance to the musical.

“I said anything that we can do to make it easier for kids to stand out and give back is great,” she says, so she happily helped pay for the new feature. “It doubled the student participation.”

The theater productions give community members an easy and accessible way to gather during the holidays, and it also supports local school activities—a win-win in Oestreicher’s eyes.

“Around the holidays, people can feel isolated. Reach out to have an authentic connection with someone,” Oestreicher says.